When you sell donuts in the northernmost city in the US, it helps your business to pull out all the stops and promote creative special events at your bakery. Dino’s Donuts, voted the best donut shop in Anchorage, AK, rolls in the crowds with unique promotions like kids’ decorating classes.
“The return business is really nice,” says owner Jeanine Keppel, who started her donut shop in 1985 and named the business after her dog, Dino, because she thought it was a catchy name. “A lot of schools and parents ask if they can do a field trip to our bakery. That’s why we started doing kids’ decorating classes.”
Word has caught on about Dino’s Donuts around Anchorage, a city of nearly 300,000 people and one of the most picturesque places in North America.
As many as 24 children at a time, ranging in age from 4 to teenagers, participate in the Saturday afternoon class, which lasts an hour and costs $12 per person. “They all take home six donuts and grab a balloon on their way out. They have an hour of pure fun,” Keppel says.
When the kids arrive, the bakery provides a chef hat and apron for each child to wear while decorating. In the first half hour, kids get to roll out and cut donuts into different shapes and sizes. In the second half hour, the children use their artistic and creative hands and minds to decorate six plain donuts, using bright neon colors of frosting (in squirt bottles, to help ease the mess) and assorted candies like Skittles.
Keppel encourages loyal customers to bring their Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops, slumber parties, sports teams, or guests for a special birthday party.
“Living in extreme weather conditions, you have to come up with creative ideas,” the bakery owner says. “The kids really love it. This is food they get to play with.”
Their calendar may not be filled every weekend, but enough children sign up throughout the year that the class has become a big success for the bakery. “I can hold up to 24 kids at one time, and 15 is a good minimum number for a decorating class.”
Dino’s Donuts will close at 4:30 p.m., and the staff sticks around for an hour to clean up afterward.
Otherwise, the bakery is busy frying donuts throughout each day, offering a wide assortment of donuts. Dino’s features all sorts of fun flavors.
Maple with Peanuts
Dino Bones Glazed
Mini Apple Fritters
Chocolate with Peanuts
Bacon Maple Topped
Cream Cheese Topped
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
Mini Cinnamon Twists
Glazed Old Fashioned
Chocolate Old Fashioned
Devil’s Food Cake
Chocolate Devils Food
German Chocolate Cake
Peanut Butter Devils Food
Oreo Topped Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Dino’s Donuts has grown its business to a 14-employee operation, and the menu keeps expanding. They offer made-to-order sandwiches, homemade soups, nachos and hot drinks from their own espresso bar.
Keppel is proud of all they’ve accomplished over the years and hopes to keep her business going strong for many more. “We were voted the best donut shop in Anchorage, and that means a lot to me,” she says. “We still make all our donuts from scratch every day.”